The advice, for women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries, is issued following Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella’s later-retracted, controversial comments that women who do not ask for pay raises have “additional super powers” that could deliver them with success.
The Important Steps
DiGeronimo, president of organizations Tech Savvy Women and Purposeful Woman, advises instead that women should confidently set the stage and push for their career development, taking these 10 steps:
1. Be realistic: Understand the market in which you work and what you are worth – rough idea – and ask around, since wages vary by city.
2. Know your company’s policy: some companies only provide a raise once a year.
3. Understand the state of your company: can it support a raise?
4. Schedule time for the discussion: this should not be a drive-by request.
5. Justify your request: Build your business case to justify your request (ways you’ve helped the company earn or save money – concrete dollar amounts).
6. Present yourself well. You are selling yourself, so present yourself in a professional manner for the request.
7. Avoid ultimatums and keep to the facts: Minimize your emotions, stick to the facts based on results.
8. Ask and wait: Like any good sales person, silence can be your best friend. After asking an important question, be silent.
9. Build a plan: regardless of the response, work to understand the next steps and build a plan to get from where you are to where you want to go. If They Say Yes: Understand when and how you will receive the raise. If They Say No: Why not and what do you need to do to position yourself for a raise. Follow-up.
10. Finally: Thank your boss for their time, and send a written thank you.
The Reality of Getting A Pay Raise
It is important for women to know how to achieve proper compensation for their work and their skills, the experts note.
Ana Dutra, President & CEO at the Executives’ Club says she always encourages her own three daughters to be confident in their own business value. “I’ve tried to instill important values in them at a young age – one of which is that they should never hesitate to seek personal and professional development, opportunities, deliver results and ask for fair compensation.”
She advises women with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) expertise to seek out organizations that value and reward talent, performance and results, and then to “do the best job you can possibly do” in order to prepare for asking for increased remuneration.
CompTIA president Todd Thibodeaux encourages women, as with men, to feel comfortable asking for a raise, and to ensure they have good visibility and communication across any gender boundaries they encounter.
He adds: “Make yourself indispensable to the company. Look constantly for places to add value and going above and beyond. Don’t be afraid to check in regularly to see how you’re doing and where you stand.”
Women should look beyond being recognized as successful women to being seen as successful leaders overall, Hammervik advises, as they build successful relationships and achieve the company’s goals. “Do your job well, keep track of your successes, review your performance and successes with management, and ask for the appropriate compensation for your contribution.”